The liberal judge who ruled in 2016 that voters do not need to prove citizenship, has continued her crusade against voting laws and is again targeting the Kansas Secretary of State.
Judge Julie A. Robinson had ruled in 2016 it was a burden for would-be voters to prove citizenship. This week she ruled Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is in contempt of court, saying he misled election officials and voters despite the court’s orders laying out notices he was supposed to send to them about voting status.
The judge cited Kobach’s “history of noncompliance and disrespect for the court’s decisions” in slapping him with a civil contempt citation.
Judge Robinson ordered him to pay lawyers’ fees and said he could face other sanctions in the future after the underlying case about voter registration is completed.
Mr. Kobach said he’ll appeal the ruling.
“We do not think a contempt order was justified under the circumstances,” he told The Washington Times.
The judge has a long history of fighting state attempts to strengthen proof for voting eligibility. Many states, including Kansas, have moved forward with requiring would-be voters to prove their citizenship when they try to register at motor vehicle bureaus. The judge has repeatedly ruled such laws are a “burden” on potential voters’ right to vote when asked to show proof of citizenship. She had previously struck down the Kansas law, championed by Kobach, requiring such proof.
Kobach has been fighting to defend Kansas’s right to ask potential voters for proof of U.S. citizenship to weed out voter fraud, where there are potentially 18,000 to 33,000 non-citizens on the voter rolls in the state.
Those efforts are popular with Kansas voters and the American public in general.
The contempt ruling is not expected to have an impact on the gubernatorial race. Kobach remains the frontrunner to lead Kansas.
In the latest polling, he leads the race among Republicans in the primary with 31 percent, while Governor Coyler garners less than 20 percent, a disappointing showing for an incumbent governor.
The poll was conducted this month with 500 likely GOP voters across the state. The Kansas Republican primary for governor is August 7, and it’s likely that if Kobach wins the primary, he will be set to take the governorship.
In the 2016 presidential election, President Trump won all but two counties in the state against Democrat challenger Hillary Clinton and the president still remains popular across the state.